Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. You’ve probably familiar with this song turned sales pitch. I myself have never owned a diamond, even though I think they’re pretty. They are quite expensive, compared to other gems, and perhaps that’s why diamonds have become a symbol of love and devotion.

What I admire about a diamond is its strength and beauty, despite what it came from. That shiny, beautiful gem — among the hardest natural substances on earth — was formed from carbon, the same stuff a dark lump of coal is made out of. But it didn’t transform into a precious gem overnight. It took time, intense heat and pressure deep underground to create the perfect conditions for its formation. A diamond would not be what it is without withstanding this test of endurance.

Under Pressure 

I don’t like tests, and I don’t think I’m the only one who doesn’t. But all through life I have been tested. There are many kinds of tests, most of them unpleasant. And like it or not, tests pressure us to succeed and achieve.

Proverbs 17:3 says, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.” A crucible is a container used to melt and purify metals. It can withstand high temperatures and a lot of pressure. Without this process, precious metals would be full of impurities and remain weak, never reaching their full beauty or potential. It’s the same for diamonds. Without the purifying force of fire and pressure, they would still be worthless carbon lumps instead of clear, sparkling beauties.

Our hearts undergo the same process. They were once black and ugly, filled with sin before Jesus entered and clothed us in a robe of salvation. But impurities still remain, sometimes hidden deep within us. It can take a lot of fire and pressure from the world around to bring them to the surface.

I don’t realize all the hateful things that are in me until someone makes me angry. I can’t realize how weak my faith actually is until circumstances reveal how much I was relying on myself instead of God. These are things we must all become aware of, confess to the Lord and be cleansed of through His help.

Consider David’s prayer for a moment: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Did you notice that David asked God to test him? David expected his fears and sins to be revealed by the test, but he also knew it would lead him forward on the path of righteousness and eternal life.

Even in those moments when it feels like our hearts are under too much pressure, when we want to break apart, we don’t. The human spirit is the most resilient thing on earth. It’s the breath of God, and it will never die. It’s diamond strong. Trust me. Some of the greatest people of God have endured trials which, instead of breaking them, made them stronger. We cannot give up. We keep hoping even if we don’t see anything to hope for (Romans 8:24). That’s why it’s called hope and why it’s linked so closely to faith. The more we face the tests of life with the right perspective, seeing the deeper value — the growing of our characters — the more we will hope and have faith in God’s promises. And that hope will not disappoint us (Romans 4:3-5).

Occasionally God is testing us when we think we’ve already moved on to the reward. Proverbs also says, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives” (Prov 27:21). How we respond when things go well in life also tests our character. Will I still be able to cry with those who cry when I feel like laughing? Will I remain humble when offered praise or generous when my pockets are full? These kinds of tests may feel vastly different, but they reveal just as much to God and to us about the state of our hearts.

Take Heart 

God did not promise us a life of ease, but He promised to be with us in the tests and trials. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” ( John 16:33b). Jesus, who was God himself, suffered the cross so that we might be redeemed and purified. He had to overcome His own test of obedience to the Father. Job was also a righteous man, yet he was tested. Despite his trials, he said, “But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” ( Job 23:10).

However hard the test, let God sustain you. “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come … it is by faith you stand firm” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 24). God is with you in the trials. He redeems the bad and the ugly, and through the tests of life, He brings forth diamonds.

Once a diamond is formed through fire and pressure, no other substance can break it. It might remain hidden awhile until its distinctive sparkle attracts a miner to it. Then a master jeweler gently cuts and polishes away until it reaches its highest potential of beauty and brightness. All that’s left is for it to be set in a gold ring and chosen by a groom for his beloved.

As we persevere and pass through this test of life, all of us in Christ will emerge like diamonds — beautifully designed, incomparably strong and free from impurity. So the next time you feel the heat of life’s pressure, just remember what it takes to become a diamond.